Adventures in a Small Yard

I may have emitted a guttural sound or two when I tripped and fell on the nubbin of last year’s evil lilac tentacle yesterday in the dog yard, landing on my shoulder and opening one of those road-rash things on my leg (it bled like an MF). And why? It was time to get out there and cut down the lilac suckers for once and for all this summer ( ha ha ha ). Picture Don Quixote.

Otherwise? The beans have reached an immensitude that’s troubling from the perspective (ha ha) of harvesting beans, but I’m very happy about it. This is little Wang Wei, one of the original seeds started inside. He was very slow to sprout. I pretty much gave up, but then??? He went outside in May, was covered from frost several times, never succumbed, was slow getting out of the gate when the weather warmed up — probably thinking, “What’s the point?” But now? I think he’s 12 feet tall… I will have to get out with a ladder and give him more room, I guess.

Although a few thousand years ago Wang Wei couldn’t have had me in mind, he wrote a poem I love.

A View of the Han River
Wang Wei

With its three Hsiang branches it reaches Ch’u border
And with nine streams touches the gateway of Ching:
This river runs beyond heaven and earth,
Where the color of mountains both is and is not.
The dwellings of men seem floating along
On ripples of the distant sky…
O Hsiang-yang, how your beautiful days
Make drunken my old mountain heart.

In other positive gardening news, the pumpkin sex in which I participated a few days ago has been successful and we have the beginnings of a beautiful Australian pumpkin.

Not a Lot Going On…

I used to try to rescue people. I don’t know if I am “over” that yet which is one reason I am dedicated to a solitary life. I think the trait is deeply entrenched in my personality. It’s a fine line between helping someone and years later looking in the mirror and saying to the exhausted image “Good god, how could I have been such an idiot?” Attempting rescue is a highly egocentric act. It violates the “prime directive.” It’s a Star Trek thing but I think it’s very wise.

As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.

My yard still needs further rescue (it’s OK to rescue a back yard), but I don’t think much more is going to happen out there in terms of construction and pick-action. The dogs have adjusted well to the changes, since they didn’t happen all at once. As far as the season goes, we’re beyond the preparation stage and into the cultivation and maintenance stage. Every year the absurd number of female elm trees let loose their very fertile seeds and gardening turns into the task of pulling out tiny trees before they take over the world. The lilacs and aspen are also trying to take over the world so it’s a war out there.

ALL of the poet beans are doing well so far, even little Liu Changqing — now Wang Wei — in the front yard. His position is exposed to the wind but he’s holding his own. Sadly (though he will not know the difference) I had to change his name to Wang Wei. There are not enough poems in existence (in English? at all?) for Liu Changqing to survive in those great bean poetry competitions.

The tomatoes seem to be thriving, and I think I bought my last “box’o’salad” for the summer. At some point I will have to dig out all the iris and separate them and replant some of them and attempt to find homes for the rest.

In the Hills

FROM dwindling stream white stones emerge;
Frosty the day and few the crimson leaves;
No rain has fallen on the mountain path —
Men’s clothes are soaked by the green solitude.

Wang Wei trans Gladys Yang